California Senate Supports Working Families with Vote to Protect Funds for Affordable Places to Live Housing California Applauds Vote, as SB 654 Moves to the Assembly

Contact: Karen Naungayan, 916.207.9132

January 31, 2012 (Sacramento, CA) — Today, on the Senate floor in California’s capitol, a bi-partisan majority of state senators voted to protect funding for affordable homes by passing Senator Darrell Steinberg’s SB 654, a bill co-sponsored by Housing California. The final vote was 34-1. Tomorrow’s demise of redevelopment agencies will eliminate $1 billion in annual funding to construct affordable places for the state’s working families and most vulnerable residents. Although not a substitute for the lost annual funds, SB 654 will protect roughly $1.3 billion in existing housing fund balances held by redevelopment agencies.

In passing SB 654, the Senate moved forward a bill that will allow construction to be completed on 10,000-19,000 affordable apartments and single-family homes throughout the state. The resulting jobs and affordable places to live are desperately needed by Californians who are faced with rising rents and dropping incomes. Many of the bill’s advocates note that California’s housing market wasn’t meeting the needs of all Californians before the foreclosure crisis; and now, thousands of homeowners have entered an increasingly expensive rental market, driving up the demand for more affordable rental housing. After today’s vote, Shamus Roller, Executive Director of Housing California, said: “With the end of redevelopment, California lost the largest local funding source for affordable homes. Senate Bill 654 ensures that existing housing funds are used for their intended purpose, providing homes for working families, the homeless and vulnerable seniors. We hope the State Assembly will follow the Senate’s lead and pass SB 654 at its earliest opportunity and that Governor Brown will sign it without delay.” Next, SB 654 will go to the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee. A hearing date has not yet been set.

###

About Housing California: Housing California (www.housingca.org) is the leading voice in the state Capitol for children, seniors, families, people experiencing homelessness, and everyone who needs a safe, stable, affordable place to call home. Housing California educates lawmakers and others who have the power to stabilize the housing market; create more housing opportunities; and implement proven solutions that reduce the number of homeless men, women, and children in our communities. We focus on solutions that create widespread, long-term improvements that uplift Californians and their communities and create more opportunities for Californians on fixed incomes and modest budgets. Housing California is urging all Californians to contact their elected representative in the State Assembly and request that they support this important and urgent piece of legislation. Their website offers click-and send online support letters at www.housingca.org and updates will be posted on Twitter (@housingca) and Facebook.